Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Criminal Minds Plot Twist That Surprised Fans The Most

While many series these days bank on the shock value of big moments each episode, procedurals like "Criminal Minds" steer closer to predictability, as they usually follow a familiar formula episode after episode. Generally, that works for them, but still, the writers have to throw in a plot twist every now and then to keep things interesting. Over the series run, "Criminal Minds" had a few great reveals, from main characters' secret backstories to the identities of the serial killers they doggedly chased after.

But, now that the series is over, which plot twist was the most unexpected? Reddit user u/CMStan1313 took to the show's subreddit, r/criminalminds, to answer that question. They set up a poll and asked fans, "Which plot twist shocked you the most?" Out of the six possible answers, here's which moments succeeded in surprising the audience, and which they saw coming from several seasons away.

When George Foyet pretended to be his own victim

Out of 179 total votes, "George Foyet was the Reaper" won out with 60 votes, or about a third of the responses. For those who may have forgotten: The Reaper was a major villain who haunted the BAU team in Seasons 4 and 5 and had a personal grudge against them. He was first introduced in the episode "Omnivore" as an unidentified subject with a long list of kills, one that Hotch (Thomas Gibson) failed to catch many years earlier. When he begins killing again, the BAU is back on the case.

To get a lead, they interview the sole survivor of the Reaper's original killing spree, George Foyet (C. Thomas Howell). The episode's twist is that all those years ago, Foyet stabbed himself and pretended to be a victim, when in fact he actually was the Reaper. When he attempts to fake his own death in the present, the BAU figure out Foyet is the Reaper, but he escapes them. He returns in later episodes to wreak havoc on their lives. All in all, it was a pretty slick plotline that made for a thrilling episode and set up one of the best villains of the show.

The unforgettable cannibalism twist

In the poll, "Tracey Lambert" came in second, with 40 votes. While the name may not be familiar to more casual fans, few will forget her episode. Tracey is the victim in the most chilling episode of "Criminal Minds" ever, the Season 3 episode "Lucky," which is remarkable for its disturbing, cannibalistic twist: Her killer mixed her body parts in with the food given to the search party sent to find her.

The option that came last in the poll was "Emily was a Secret Agent." Although she becomes a crucial member of the team and eventually the Unit Chief, Emily (Paget Brewster) came in Season 2 with an air of mystery and tension around her. We learn more about Emily's past in Season 6: She worked as a spy for Interpol, with an undercover alias and everything.

However, while this plotline is an enjoyable dive into Emily's character, it didn't exactly come across as a shocking twist. User u/Ok-Painting4471 wrote, "The one thing that didn't surprise me was Emily's background... always seemed like she was hiding something [in my opinion]." Still, not every "reveal" needs to elicit a double-take. Sometimes, it's the ones with effective foreshadowing that are the most satisfying.